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FOREWORD 



Recent polls of public interest and 
opinion in Canada show that, of the 
purely Canadian topics discussed, there 
are perhaps half a dozen of continuing, 
lively interest to all Canadians. They in- 
clude full employment, housing, food and 
clothing supplies, and social welfare and 
security plans — education, health, and so 
on. Essential parts of all these programs 
are the actual buildings in which Cana- 
dians live, work, learn, play, and meet 
their fellow citizens. 

Among the groups of Canadian workers 
on whose products the success of these 
programs depends, one important group is 
therefore the construction industry, or as 
some would say, the building trades. Let's 
have a look at the problems facing Cana- 
dian builders. Whatever occupations we 
mean to resume or enter, there can be no 
Canadians whose handiwork will be more 
in evidence all about us. These are the 
September people whose business it is to keep us 

1945 warm and dry. 



WHAT ABOUT THE BUILDERS ? 



One of the busiest fields of activity in the next few 
years in Canada will be the construction industry. 
Wherever we are going to live in Civvy Street, the 
achievements of the men with the steam shovels, trowels 
and spirit levels will affect our well-being. How many BUILDERS Of 
of them are there? What are they able to do? What "CIVVY STREET 
unable to do? How do they go about their jobs? What 
kinds of training do they get? What is their place in 
the whole reconstruction effort? What lies ahead for 
the builders? 

How very important the building industry is to all 
Canadians may be seen from the attention that it is 
getting in the press, on the radio, and from those re- 
sponsible for the day-to-day administration of our re- 
construction plans. 

Nearly every page of the White Paper on Employ- 
ment and Income contains references to construction* 
Of the six main directions in which post-war job- 
seekers are expected to move, four involve building and 
building supplies; they are: 

(a) Rural and urban housing. 

(b) Rehabilitation of devastated lands. 

(c) Reconversion and improvement of industry. 

(d) Better use of primary resources. 

Recently, a joint statement by the Ministers of 
Finance, Reconstruction and Labour declared: "It is the 
Government's intention to see that new homes to the 
required number will be made available to veterans 
either by government action or private building." 

The proposals of the Government of Canada to the 
provincial governments, presented to them during the 
Reconstruction Conference in August, also refer re- IMPORTANCE OF 
peatedly to the importance of private and public build- CONSTRUCTION 
ing — houses, factories, towns and facilities for the de- 
velopment of our human and natural resources. 



1 



THE BUILDING FORCE 



WHAT IS 
"CONSTRUC- 
TION"? 



OLD METHODS 



SOME 

BUILDING 

HISTORY 



MODERN 

IMPROVEMENTS 



TWO GROUPS 
OF WORKERS 



What do we mean: Construction Force? 

A structure is something fixed in position by man. 
Thus 'construction' is the putting-together of all kinds 
of stationary man-made objects, including tunnels, quay 
walls and radio masts, as well as houses. 

While some building is done by people engaged in 
other occupations — as when a miner shores up a stope, 
or a gardener builds a wood shed — most of Canada's 
building is done by building tradesmen, who spend their 
working lives moving from one building site to another. 

There was a time when all the people connected with 
building worked on the site. Three hundred years ago, 
when Champlain ordered his 'Habitation' near Port 
Royal, the whole job was done right there. The work- 
men prepared all their materials within walking distance 
of the spot chosen for the building. 

The important difference between that house and 
one built in Nova Scotia in 1945 is not in the general 
appearance, nor in the primary crafts employed in put- 
ting it together. It is only in such assembly details as 
the wire nails that the basic house of today is very dif- 
ferent from its first ancestor in Canada. The big change 
that has taken place in building since the white man 
came to America is that nowadays more than half the 
preparatory work is done away from the site. A whole 
series of trades are busy preparing the components to be 
assembled by on-site workers. 

The process of building thus involves men on-the- 
site; men fashioning and supplying materials specifically 
for building purposes; and men extracting raw mater- 
ials, some of which will find their way into structures. 
We can't label all these people as the Construction 
Force. Some will call themselves workers in transpor- 
tation or mining. The one group we can count with 
certainty are those whose jobs are on construction sites. 



How big is the Construction Force? 

How many jobs on actual building sites are there in 
Canada? The Census people say there are 125,000 to 
130,000 — about one Canadian in every ninety, or about 
one in every forty of the Canadian working force. 

However, there are a good many other Canadians 
who depend directly on construction for a living, even 
though they are not members of the Construction Force 
as we have defined it. The statisticians cannot make a 
pat answer as to how many people look to building 
activity for their pay, but they estimate that their 
strength is at least as great as the R.C.A.F. was at its 
peak: a little over 200,000. 

The size of the Construction Force varies a good 
deal with the amount of work for it to do. Every year 
sees rush periods and slack periods, as wet and cold 
weather prevents many on-site workers from carrying 
on. In the rush periods, thousands of farmers and 



WORKING FORCE 



1934 


CONSTRUCTION 

jc ' jo * Eac h Symbol Represents 
X^ &m> A 20,000 Persons 


1938 


fat fat XV XV fa 


1941 


fat fat fat fat fat fat fa 


ALL GAINFULLY OCCUPIED (ESTIMATE) 


1934 


yP^— i* )Jt^ r |4f* Eacn Symbol Represents 
F?U-J nJL-J OU • 1,000,000 Persons 


1938 


y^T y^=r ythi fe 


1941 


nL— J oU-J oL-J oL—J o 



THE NUMBER 
EMPLOYED 



HOW LONG 
EACH YEAR? 



WHAT THEY 
CONTRIBUTE 



THEIR REWARDS 



others may join the building force. Taking all these 
things into account, the experts reckon that Canadian 
construction workers did about 170,000 man-years of 
work in 1940. 

How much work does the Building Force 
turn out? 

There are several ways of measuring the contribu- 
tion made to our well being by the construction work- 
ers. We can rate their output and wages alongside those 
in other areas of production. This is estimated for three 
years — poor, average and peak — in the graph below. 

Do the Builders get their share 
of the Wages? 

Building craftsmen's incomes are not high, even 
though they receive fairly good hourly wages. The 
reason has been that they are unable to earn at all for 
a good part of almost every year. Time is lost after one 
job is finished and before the next begins, or because of 
the weather. The construction industry also fluctuates 
from year to year, more than most others. Even in 1929, 
the average building worker went seven weeks without 
pay. During the war the builders have enjoyed steadi- 
ness of employment almost comparable with that in 
other occupations. 



THE BUILDERS' SHARE 


OUTPUT 


O CONSTRUCTION 


• ALL OTHER GROSS PRODUCT 


1934 C 


l£f£l^&^)(^£4 lach S V mbci ^present* 




$500,000,000 


1938 0( 
1941 OC 




'WwwwwwWwWWwwl 


INCOME i»k««*> 


O CONSTRUCTION 


• ALL GAINFULLY OCCUPIED 


1934 )0000 


••••« 


1938 DOOOOO 


IfcUfc^JB^i Eoch Symbol Repres«nto 

WWWWW^ $200-0* 


I94COOOOOO 


••••••< 



JOBS ON THE SITE 



2 



Within the construction industry there are rigid 
lines drawn between groups performing different opera- 
tions. The two major groups of on-the-site workers are 
those in what is known as BUILDING CONSTRUC- 
TION who enclose space and provide shelter; and 
those in ENGINEERING CONSTRUCTION who JHSLSKSiS 
assemble other kinds ot structures, such as bridges, 
roads, harbours, pipelines, cables, railways, and so on. 
Beside these major groups, there are some building 
workers engaged permanently or for short periods to 
do minor alterations and maintenance work. 

Who are the Building Tradesmen? 

We shall begin with the tradesmen most frequently 
employed on-site in the building of houses. They are of 
seven classes: Carpenters, Joiners and Cabinet-makers; DIVISION OF 
Brick-layers and Stone Masons; Plumbers and Steam- LABOUR 
fitters; Electricians and Wiremen; Sheet metal workers; 
Plasterers; and Painters and Decorators. 

These are the men to be found wherever buildings 
of any of the usual kinds are going up, We shall not 
stop to describe their skills, pay or conditions of work. 
Those subjects can better be discussed with the Legion's 
booklet on the Building Trades in front of you. 

There are a number of other specialists on many 
larger jobs, who should be mentioned. The men who 
are skilled in the making of concrete forms; in the 
placing of reinforcing steel and pouring of concrete; 
the erection of steel columns, girders and beams; in 
laying roofing; in the setting of tile; craftsmen with SPECIAL SKILLS 
architectural glass and metals; and such new-comers as 
the installers of air-conditioning systems are among 
these specialists. All these tradesmen are assisted in 
their work by apprentices, unskilled and semi-skilled 
fetch-and-carry men. 



MACHINE 
HELPS MAN 



Skills in Engineering Construction 

For the layman, the most dramatic kind of con- 
struction is the large project where derricks, steam 
shovels, bull-dozers, concrete conveyors and the rest of 
the industry's heavy artillery go into action. These 
superhuman power tools burrow in city streets, span 
wide ravines, or push tons of steel and concrete aloft 
with unbelievable power and precision. 

In engineering construction a revolution has taken 
place in recent decades. A hundred years ago, the con- 
struction of a railway, a road, a canal or a dam called 
for a huge army of almost unskilled (and very low 
u^pumc^ ^* paid) workers with spade and pick. There are still jobs 
for many unskilled men in engineering work. But the 
contractors who specialized in engineering projects have 
learned to use mechanical power as well. At the present 
time, some of the highest wages in the construction field 
are paid to the operators of heavy powered gear. 



MACHINE 
OPERATORS 



Bill l/M, ao&uUfe UbuAe 

(FEDERAL HOUSING ACT 1935-1943) 



MATERIALS 



PLUMBING and HEATING. 
MASONRY 



LATH PLASTER and INSULATION 

PAINT and GLASS . 

ROOFING 



ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT . 

OTHERS 



l OTHEK5 



43.8% 

19.5% 

15.1% 

7.3% 

_- 5.7% 

_ 3.7% 

_ 3.4% 

_ 1.5% 



LABOUR 



37.0% 
13.2% 
9.1% 
7.3% 
4.8% 
3.2% 
2.9% 
SEMI-SKILLED and UNSKILLED WORKERS 22.5% 

100.0% 



CARPENTERS , _ 

PLUMBERS * 

PLASTERERS and TILE LAYERS 

MASONS and BRICK LAYERS 

PAINTERS and GLAZIERS 

ROOFERS and SHEET METAL WORKERS 
ELECTRICIANS . 



Published for use as discussion material in the Canadian Armed 

Forces. Distributed to civilian groups through the Canadian 

Council of Education for Citizenship. May be reprinted for 

similar purposes, with or without acknowledgment. 



8 



JOBS OFF THE SITE 



3 



Where else does the Building Dollar go? 

Estimates for typical buildings show that to keep 
ten men busy on the site, there may be twenty men 
engaged in the fabrication and transport of building 
supplies. 

Some types of building operation require more 
preparatory work away from the site than others. In 
asphalt paving the greater part of the labour is done on 
the spot, in spite of the long distance over which the 
chief material must be brought. A large public build- 
ing, on the other hand, may involve twice as much effort 
off the job as on it. 

Why is more work done Off the Site? 

There has been a greater use of machines in building 
construction as well as in engineering work. But rather 
than bring much more machinery to the building site, 
the tendency has been (in small projects particularly) 
to work the materials more nearly to their finished state 
before delivering them for assembly. The ultimate re- 
sult of this movement is perhaps the small house made 
by an aircraft firm in Montreal; the main operations on 
the site are to unload this house from a trailer, fold on 
the dotted lines, drop in some bolts and couplings to 
hold it in shape and bring in water and light. 

Some of the advantages in building-in-a-factbry are 
obvious. Not only can more use be made of machine 
power. Savings in material and transport can also be 
made. (We'll say more of these later.) The battle 
against the housing shortage can go on indoors in rain 
or shine, throughout the day and the year, instead of 
coming to a halt while highly skilled m^n wait for 
ground or materials to dry out — or thaw out. Whereas 
the best craftsman can supervise the work on only a few 
house sites during the working day, in a shop he can 



CONSTRUCTION 
BY MASS 
METHODS 



ADVANTAGES OF 
PREFABRICATE 



PROSPECTS IN 
"PREFAB" 



check on the details of scores of dwellings in eight 
hours. The man who adapts himself to the ways of 
machines, can thus work on more jobs in a day — or a 
year. He can become more productive and get better 
pay. 

What chance lor complete Pre- 
fabrication? 

Prefabricated buildings erected during the war have 
for the most part been designed with portability or sim- 
plicity in mind, rather than the economical and perma- 
nent accommodation of a family. The encouraging 
thing about wartime prefabrication is this: if we can 
learn how to gain other ends, can we not in time learn 
to make decent, low-cost, permanent dwellings too? The 
answer of the expert is: "Yes, but it will take a little 
time and a good deal of initiative." 



THERE'S ROOM FOR YOUNGER 
MEN IN CONSTRUCTION 




"Mix * i* i n nun iiiiiiiii i ii ii i iin i i i in i ii i iiii iiii iiiiiii M ' 

YOUNG ' ' OLD 



10 



OvvifWjftiee, 




No. 18 



EWS= 



September, 1945 



48,000 HOUSES GOING UP IN 1945 

w 



HEN the Minister of Re- 
construction introduced 
the White Paper on employment 
and income in the House of Com- 
mons last April he said that the 
government estimated that it would 
be possible to build 50,000 dwell- 
ing units within the first year after 
V-E Day. This was the number of 
houses which the Advisory Com- 
mittee on Housing and Com- 
munity Planning had set as the 
first year's target. 

In reply to a question in Par- 
liament, the Secretary of State 
tabled recently a report on the 
number of houses completed or 
under construction during 1945. 
The report covers the five months 
before, and the seven months fol- 
lowing V-E Day. It shows that 
about 48,000 dwelling units have 
been completed or will be under 
construction during that period. 

Private Builders to Undertake 
Most 

At the end of September licenses 
had been issued to private builders 
for the construction of nearly 
40,000 houses. In addition a num- 
ber of housing units have been 
built during 1945 under licenses 
issued last year. 



Houses Built with Government 
Aid 

The National Housing Adminis- 
tration estimate that loans will be 
provided for about 4,500 dwellings 
by the end of 1945. The loans are 
being approved at the rate of 
about 565 a month. The National 
Housing Act of 1944 has been in 
force throughout Canada since 
January 18 last. 

The report to Parliament showed 
that a number of limited dividend 
housing corporations are being 
formed and that negotiations be- 
tween the government and these 
corporations are underway. Agree- 
ment has been reached with one 
such corporation. 

A limited dividend housing cor- 
poration undertakes to build and 
manage dwelling units to be 
leased at low rentals. It cannot 
pay its shareholders more than 
5% on their money. It must pay 
back, over a period of not more 
than fifty years, the government's 
loan for the project at 3% interest. 
The Housing Act provides that 
these projects will be occupied 
only by low income families — 
those whose monthly incomes are 
less than 5% of the construction 
cost of the accommodation they 

(Continued an page 4) 



KNOW YOUR REHAB RIGHTS: 

fKEE MEDICAL TREATMENT • CLOTHING ALLOWANCES • REHABILITATION GRANT • REINSTATEMENT IN JOBS 
IE-ESTABLISHMENT CREDIT • A HOME OUTSIDE TOWN • FARMING OPPORTUNITIES • VOCATIONAL TRAINING 

UNIVERSITY TRAINING • MAINTENANCE GRANTS 
How do they work? How do they affect YOUR future ? They are all part of Canada's 
Rehabilitation Program, designed to help you on the road ahead. Keep informed. Semi 
in your question* to Editor, Civvy Street News, Wartime Information Board, Ottawa* 

Extra copies of Civvy Street News are available on request. 

Contents may be reprinted with or without acknowledgment. 



AN EXTRA PIECE FOR STUDENT HUBBIES 

A supplementary grant of $5 a week to married veterans compelled to leave their homes 

to continue their education at a university was announced by Veterans Minister 

Mackenzie. This grant has been in effect some time for veterans taking vocational 

training. 

The grant may also be paid to single veterans maintaining a home or othex" dependents 

for whom a dependent's allowance is being paid by the department. 

DOES A VETERAN MAKE A GOOD M.P.? 

The voice of the veteran Is being heard on Parliament Hill. Wing Commander Bene- 
dickson of Kenora-Rainy River moved the address in reply to the Speech- from the 
Throne. He pointed out that Canada had become a great nation since 1939, winning 
an international position far beyond the stature of a northern adjunct of the United 
States or a westward dependency of Great Britain. Canadians are a neighbourly 
people, he believed, and they are quite willing that Canada should give all she can 
as a free nation to help other Allied nations devastated by the war. 
The seconder was Lieutenant Langlois, RCNVR, of Gaspe, who launched his maiden 
speech in bilingual, sea-going style. He urged the building of a Canadian fleet of 
modern, ocean-going cargo ships to aid in expanded post-war trade. The war bonus 
to merchant seamen was well merited, he contended. He supported the adoption of a 
national anthem and flag, and a uniform history book that would be impartial and 
complete. 

There is a vigorous block of veterans in the House of Commons and they should do 
^great service in bringing veterans' problems to the attention of the government. 

V.L.A. IN QUEBEC 

20,000 to 25,000 veterans are expected to be rehabilitated under the Veterans' Land 
Act in the Province of Quebec. Land has already been secured to build 1,500 houses 
next year. 

SMALL HOLDINGS CAN NOW BE SMALLER 

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now allowing small holdings of only half an 
acre instead of the former minimum of one acre. 

CALLING PRO HOCKEY PLAYERS 

The Director of National Selective Service has announced that there will be no restric- 
tions on Canadians wishing to play professional hockey with teams in the United 
States. Industrial Selection and Release Committees have been instructed to approve 
applications for the speedy release from the Armed Forces at present posted in Canada 
or all pro pucksters who apply for release to play pro hockey in Canada or the United 
States. Those wishing to play hockey in the States will be able to secure Labour 
Exit Permits promptly from the local office of the National Employment Service. 



HAVE YOU READ? 

Publications of Rehabilitation Information Committee (Canadian lofo*awtioo Service): 
"Thb Common-Sense of Rb-Estabtishmknt^ '■"'•*.. 
"AHomeonCiwySt." 
"Your Own Business on Civvy St." 
"Vocational Training on Civvy St.** 
"A Farm on R.R. No. 1" 
"Thb Machinery of Re-bstabijshmknV 

Booklets by Department of Labour: 

"Dismiss — But What of a Job?" 

"Vocational Training for Ex-servicb P&aaoK*»" 

Pamphlets by Department of Veterans Affairs; 
"Back to Civil Live" 
"Thb Veterans' Land Act, 1942'* 
"What's Ahead?" (The Veterans Insurance Act) . 

Postwar Planning Information Series (Canadian Information Service): 
"Rehabilitation of Service Men and Womhn" 
"Social Security" ; , 

"Reconstruction Planning" * , ; 

"Housing and Community Planning" 
"National Housing Act" 
"Agricultural Reconstruction" 

"Economic Policy for Full Employment — A Summary Vihw" 
"Dominion-Provincial Conference on Rbconstruction, 1943" 
"International Monetary Agreements" 



WOMEN USE CREDITS FOR FURNITURE 

The overwhelming majority of discharged Canadian Service Women are uAng their re- 
establishment credits to buy furniture and household equipment. Up to the end of 
August, 950 women drew $95,867 in re-establishment credits. Of that total, $07, or 
85%, used their credits totalling $79,670 to furnish homes. Not one had bought a 
business, but 47 have applied their credits towards working capital in businesses they 
already owned. 

VETERAN LAWYERS FOR VETERAN CLIENTS 

There is nothing to prove that homecoming service personnel get into more difficulties 
' * than any other group of Canadians fall heir to. But there are times when we all need 
expert advice. The legal profession in Canada have been going^ out of their way to 
see to it that no member of the Armed Forces should lack any help which their mem- 
bers can give, simply because he hasn't the money to pay for it. The Canadian Bar 

}• Association has adopted the principle that this legal service should be available to 

•; •'. .men and women returning to civil life with respect to legal problems that may have 

" ; • arisen while they were in the Services. 

More than 1,500 Ontario lawyers are offering their services on this basis and almost 

1,000 members of the Quebec Bar — both French-speaking ancf English-speaking — : have 

also volunteered their services. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs points out that many members of its regional 

office staffs are authorized to attest documents or accept affidavits on oath without 

charge. 

•■ \Domestic troubles are the most frequent among cases so far dealt with. Next largest 
classes are debt difficulties and rental and shelter disDutt-s.- 



need. Detailed regulations under 
the Act are being; worked out. 

The number or houses that War- 
time Housing Limited will com- 
plete during 1945 must depend, 
like the rest, on weather condi- 
tions and labour and material sup- 
plies. Reconstruction Minister 
Howe told the House that this 
Crown company is given priority 
assistance in buying many kinds 
of building materials for the erec- 
tion of low-rental houses for 
veterans and their families. 

Wartime Housing has completed 
1,250 houses so far this year. 
These are all occupied. .The com- 
pany has let contracts for the con- 
struction of over 4,200 additional 
houses which are under construc- 
tion. Further projects are being 
planned. 

The Department of Veterans 
Affairs estimates that about 750 



new houses will be built under the 
Veterans' Land Act by the end of 
this year. An additional 2,000 are 
under construction. 

Housing Research 

The House of Commons was 
told that arrangements are being 
made for a program of housing 
research to be carried on jointly 
by various government depart- 
ments and agencies. It was in- 
dicated that grants to outside or- 
ganizations — universities, pro- 
vincial laboratories and other 
bodies — will be considered. The 
National Housing Act authorizes 
the Housing Administration to 
share the big job of housing re- 
search with other interested 
groups and particularly to assist 
the building supplies industry in 
working out better and less ex- 
pensive products. 

INSURANCE INTERESTS FORM NEW HOUSING COMPANY 



It has recently been announced 
that the life insurance companies, 
who are authorized under the 
Housing Act to undertake certain 
types of large-scale housing pro- 
jects, have formed a special com- 
pany for the purpose, to be known 
as Housing Enterprises of Canada, 
Limited. Brigadier D. H. Storms 
has been appointed General Man- 
ager of this -company. (He will 
be remembered by the 21st Army 
Group for his work on PBS — pre- 
fabricated bituminous surfacing.) 



Arrangements are nearing com- 
pletion whereby the new company 
will build and. manage low and 
moderate rental housing projects 
in several cities. The projects will 
offer preference to veterans as 
tenants. 

Through this company the life 
insurance interests put up one- 
tenth of the cash cost of construe-' 
tion, the other nine-tenths being 
borrowed by the company through 
its local branches from the Do- 
minion of Canada. 



Listen to JOHNNY HOME broadcast from Canada over the CBC Inter- 
national Service every Sunday and Wednesday at 13.30 to 14.00 GMT 
on station CHTA— 15.22 megacycles or 19.71 metres* 



TRAINING THE FORCE 



4 



HOW MUCH 
SKILL REQUIRED 



Usually there are more skilled than unskilled men 
at work on a new building; the proportion has been 
estimated on war jobs as about three skilled workers to 
every two unskilled. 

In the past, we in Canada have relied heavily on 
craftsmen from abroad for our construction force. Since 
1930, though, there has been little immigration from 
Europe. The result is an acute shortage of capable men 
in many building crafts. 

To overcome this shortage, several of the provinces 
have set up apprenticeship schemes. Unfortunately, the PROVINCIAL 
earlier apprenticeship acts came at a time when there I??I!1 W ^ 
was not enough building going on to keep even the 
skilled workers fully employed. The war diverted many 
eligible men into the forces or into munitions work. In 
construction one must remain an apprentice for three 
to five years. In factories shorter periods of training 
were rewarded with better wages. 

What are the Prospects? 

The place to discuss personal chances in this or any 
other kind of occupation is the Personnel Counsellor's CHANCES FOR 
room. But some general questions concerning jobs in WUTH 
the construction industry may arise. 

Are there many young persons already started in 
the trades, making advancement harder? Generally it 
may be said that skilled construction craftsmen are 
older on the average than skilled industrial workers of 
other kinds. 

Where is the work likely to be found? Construction 
is a very mobile business, and the better the workman, 
the more likely he is to be offered a job far from home. LOCATION OF 
Because building contracts are commonly based on mnyJ™^^ 
competitive pricing, contractors, engineers and archi- 
tects tend to congregate in the larger cities. The major, 
ity of them are located in Ontario and Quebec. 

11 



5 



CONSTRUCTION 
ORGANIZATION 



EMPLOYEES' 
ORGANIZATIONS 



MANAGEMENT'S 
ORGANIZATIONS 



TRADE 
MAGAZINES 



How about Unions? 

Construction workers are more often organized by 
crafts than they are by industries. That is to say, all 
the plasterers in a given city generally belong to the 
local plasterers' organization, the bricklayers belong to 
their own union, and so on, regardless of where or by 
whom they are employed. 

Building unions in Canada in 1943 had about 
60,000 members or nearly one-tenth the strength of all 
organized labour in the country. Of each ten on-site 
workers, five belong to unions; probably three of the five 
are in Trades 8C Labour Congress of Canada locals, per- 
haps one is a Canadian Congress of Labour member, 
one belongs to an independent union. In the Province 
of Quebec, most of the union building tradesmen are 
members of the Canadian and Catholic Confederation 
of Labour. 

How do the Employers Organize? 

There are probably about as many contracting firms 
in Canada as there are doctors. Because a builder's 
property consists so largely of movable machinery, it is 
fairly easy to establish or to wind up a contracting firm. 
The number of firms, therefore, varies, even though 
some of the larger and older firms are as stable as any 
business. 

A construction company is really organized around 
experience and specialized administrative ability. The 
chief means for spreading knowledge of better methods 
throughout the industry is by professional and trade 
associations, and by magazines. 

The architects and engineers have institutes publish- 
ing excellent journals, which describe improved building 
methods and materials. There are also several maga- 



12 



zines published for contractors and materials suppliers, 
and a few magazines dealing with middle and upper 
class houses and gardens, for the general reader. 

There are some thirty national associations for 
builders, and an equal number of regional and pro- 
vincial organizations. Alongside such industries as tex- 
tiles, chemicals or pulp and paper, the construction 
groups appear to be loosely knit; probably not more 
than a third of all the general or specialized contractors 
in the country belong to any contractors' association. 

The largest group is the Canadian Construction 
Association, to which belongs about one contracting or 
builders' supply firm in every ten. It is said, however, 
that the members of the CCA. do over half the con- 
tract work of the country. The Association has been 
active in voicing the industry's opinions before govern- 
mental, business and other assemblies. All the other 
contractors' groups are very much smaller. They aver- 
age fewer than fifty members each. 

About a dozen years ago the National Construction 
Council was formed, for the exchange of views from 
every quarter concerned with building. The Council 
has been instrumental, in co-operation with the Federal 
Government, in preparing model by-laws regarding 
building for the guidance of municipal councils. 

Could Construction be Streamlined? 

Clean, new housing at rates we could afford has long 
been a mirage to nearly half our population. Many 
solutions have been suggested, and most of them have 
been tried, here or abroad: lower interest on loans for 
building, rental subsidies, elimination of taxes on some 
housing, and outright public ownership (and operation 
at an apparent loss) of some housing. This is not the 
place to discuss these schemes. But not one of them can 
be wholly effective if there has been waste of material 
and effort in the erection of the buildings themselves. 
We have already said something about saving crafts- 
men's time. The industry in co-operation with publicly 
supported programs of experiment might find many 
other ways to provide better shelter at lower cost. 



13 



SUGGESTED 
SOLUTIONS 



LUMBER 
STRETCHING 



STANDARDIZE 
AND SIMPLIFY 



GRADE 
MATERIALS 



What about Cheaper Materials? 

As can be seen from the chart on page 8, the most 
important single material in modern small houses is 
lumber. Thrift in lumber will cut the cost of our hous- 
ing construction; it will make it possible for us to send 
to Britain and Europe the enormous quantities we have 
promised. This thrift may be accomplished in two ways: 

1. By avoiding waste through careful planning of 
the operations in the woodworking shop. A scrap from 
the stair assembly of one house may be used in the 
rough framing of another, and so on. 

2. By organizing lumber production to eliminate 
guesswork. Large scale builders may find it possible to 
buy in such large quantities that the word on exactly 
what sizes and species are needed will be passed to 
everyone in the game right back to the lumberjack. 

What other Methods Promise Savings? 

Other drives to reduce the cost of houses are often 
suggested. They would decrease the amount of work 
necessary both off the site and on it. They are stand- 
ardization and simplification* 

There is much to be said for the idea that we could 
all enter our homes by doors of the same width (though 
not necessarily of the same appearance) , pass under 
ceilings of the same height, and bathe in tubs of the 
same length. As houses have been built in the past, all 
these dimensions have varied by fractions of an inch— ~ 
making each house a separate problem in design, fabri- 
cation, delivery and fitting. By that method it is im- 
possible to avoid waste of material and labour. 

There are less obvious ways to standardize, too— as 
in the grading of materials by a sort of Pulhem's profile 
of stamina, composition and appearance. There are 
numerous surface materials available now which might 
be more widely used if anyone knew positively and 
scientifically how to use them and what lasting qualities 
to expect from them. The reconversion of our war 
plants will doubtless produce additional structural 
goods; we shall need publicly endorsed standards by 
which to assess them* 



14 



CANADIAN 
ENGINEERING 
STANDARDS 
ASSOCIATION 



SCIENTIST AND 
DESIGNER 



The working out of standards for building materials 
might be entrusted to the Canadian Engineering Stand- 
ards Association, a body which has already prepared 
a great many yardsticks for the electrical and mechan- 
ical engineering fields. Over the next few years, govern- 
ments, research bodies, construction and industrial 
groups together can do much to ensure that we shall 
know how much house we are getting for our money — - 
and that in the low rental field we shall get more and 
better shelter for a dollar than we have ever got before. 

On the simplification front, the suppliers of building 
materials can begin tomorrow. For instance, a good 
simple, inexpensive line of house hardware is needed. 
Here again the scientist, the industrial designer and the 
housewife might put their heads together. 

Another Kind of Organizing 

One of the most outstanding lessons of this war 
has been the importance of large-scale, long-view plan- 
ning in everything we do. To this rule the building in- 
dustry is no exception. The building of hundreds of 
thousands of Canadian houses in the next ten years will ALL-OVER 
require not only the planning of kitchens and clothes 
cupboards but of towns and cities as well. Our survey- 
ors, architects, engineers, draughtsmen have large con- 
tributions to make — if we offer them a decent living in 
exchange. 



PLANNERS 



WHO BUILDS AND WHEN? 



1929 
1933 
1939 
1941 



PRIVATE CONSTRUCTION 



am 



3232,3 



PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION 



Each Unit- $100,000,000 



15 



CONSTRUCTION 
AND OUR JOBS 



6 



We have said something so far about the size of the 
Construction Force, the kinds of work on and off the 
site, the training required to become a construction 
craftsman, and the organization of the workers and the 
employers in the industry. We have also outlined some 
of the technical problems with which the industry is 
faced in its efforts to offer the common man something 
more in keeping with his needs and his income. These 
are questions for which those in the building business, 
those intending to enter it, and those who will be its 
future customers must thrash out the answers. 



CHALLENGE TO 
CANADIANS 



DEPENDENT 
INDUSTRIES 



PUBLIC 
CONSTRUCTION 



How does Construction affect us All? 

It is not quite true to say that construction itself 
stimulates the equipment and appliance industries. It is 
true to say that the conditions favourable for building 
are also favourable for a great many other businesses. 
That is why those whose job it will be to check the 
course of Canadian economy in the post-war years will 
keep a steady watch on the builders. When the com- 
munity wants more buildings, it soon wants more of 
many other things, like refrigerators, rugs or rubber 
stamps. When we slow our buying of buildings, we soon 
slow our buying all around. 

This link between building activity and general 
prosperity naturally leads to the idea that public 
authorities, when they see prosperity waning, should 
increase their expenditures on construction projects. 
When unemployment threatens, runs the argument, the 
proper counterattack is to compensate with a stream of 
public works held in reserve for just that purpose. Thus 
it is important that public authorities buy building 
wisely; their buying may make or mar a full employ- 
ment program. (See chart on page 15.) 



16 



Can Public Works turn the Tide? 



From American experience several lessons can be 
drawn. First the *shelf' of public projects must be ready 
at hand, or else the depression gets a first class head 
start. Second, the federal government must enlist the 
co-operation of local governments in its counter-effort. 
The cities and states cut their building budgets during 
the thirties faster than Uncle Sam could increase his. 
(The vital importance of Dominion-Provincial agree- 
ments on works programs is beginning to be appre- 
ciated.) Third, it is fair to say that even in spite of these 
shortcomings, the effects of the depression in the 
United States were not so serious as they might have 
been had a federal works program not been undertaken. 

There are limits, however, to the size of the gap on 
the unemployment front which can be filled by works 
projects. We cannot expect to get an efficient construc- 
tion industry if its ranks are constantly swelling and 
shrinking. Many men in the building game believe that 
the first job of the industry is to provide structures — 
housing, work-places, schools, hospitals, roads, irriga- 
tion and the rest — in the most efficient way possible. 
This the industry cannot do, they say, if it is at the 
same time to compensate for the shortcomings of the 
rest of the economic world. An industry that is feeling 
its way towards factory assembly methods is no place to 
put workers on a temporary basis. 

Not Postponing — but Doing More 

There is another objection to the idea that construc- 
tion projects can be timed to take up the slack in other 
kinds of employment. What kinds of works can be de- 
ferred until slack time? Not houses, for we need them 
urgently; not schools nor recreation centres, nor health 
facilities nor factories, nor communications, nor utilities 
nor electric power installations. As long as we have full 
employment, we shall have to go ahead with all these 
things. There are some types of project that may be 
postponed for a time, such as reforestation, large-scale 
waterways development, improvement of tourist facili- 



IF HARD TIMES 
COME 



LIMITATIONS 



URGENT PUBLIC 
WORKS 



WHAT TO 
POSTPONE 



17 



TO KEEP BUSY 
LATER ON... 



WE MUST EX- 
PERIMENT NOW 



CHANCES FOR 
STEADY JOBS 



EVERYBODY'S 
BUSINESS 



ties and other works which can come into use only 
gradually in any case* The questions are: How much is 
postponable? Is it likely to be of a kind and in a 
locality suitable to take up much employment slack? 

On the other hand* many kinds of construction have 
always been *deferred\ For example, low-rental hous- 
ing; community facilities for health, fitness and cul- 
tural activities; and those major jobs of surgery which 
so many of our cities require* In the past, these things 
have never been adequately done. Why not plan to get 
them done as soon as the demand for building men and 
materials begins to relax? 

If we are to do these things efficiently on a large 
scale later, we should acquire by small, "Pathfinder" 
projects the necessary know-how right away. The 
National Housing Act provides for research, surveys, 
and the distribution of information of this kind. This 
part of the Act can profitably be put into practice 
immediately* 

Timing of Public Works is 
Everyman's affair 

Perhaps construction is a more adjustable activity 
than we think* During the war we have been amazed 
at the ability of the railways, for example, to do twice 
their normal work with a minimum of expansion, by 
means of feats of administrative and employee effort. 
The maintenance of stable employment may involve 
similar feats in the national interest in peacetime* The 
goal is certainly worth everybody's efforts* 

To the construction worker this goal is particularly 
attractive because before the war no type of occupation 
was less secure than his* Also, because his periods of 
unemployment in the past helped cause the present 
housing shortages in Canada, the problem concerns us 
all. It is in the interest of all Canadians to keep an eye 
on construction. 



18 



SCAFFOLDING FOR 
A DISCUSSION 



Problems of the construction industry are pretty far removed from the 
average man on active service. Building, under battle conditions, whether it 
is the digging of a slit trench or the bridging of a river, is done by the most 
direct methods and according to the needs of the moment. Only when he re- 
turns home to Canada will the service man find that construction for civilian 
use is a much more complicated business. There are questions of land values 
and ownership to be considered, questions of suitable returns on invested 
capital, questions of supply and demand. 

The following questions suggest a plan for group discussion on this sub- 
ject in your unit: 

1. More Stress on Efficiency? 

Have building methods improved as rapidly as those employed in other 
industries, textiles for example? (See 'Let's Look at Textiles', Reconstruction 
Supplement No. 1.) How do you think builders might use more machinery 
to advantage? Is the use of machines an advantage or a disadvantage to the 
man working in the building trades? 

This brings forward the possibilities of prefabrication. Since this method 
of production would tend to centralize much construction work in factories, 
how would it affect the lives of construction workers and their families? Would 
it be an improvement or otherwise? Supposing that mass production of pre- 
fabricated houses brings their cost down within reach of average Canadian 
workers, how would it affect their living conditions? What part of the popula- 
tion would a prefabricated house best serve? What part would it not serve? 
Whose incomes would suffer from general lowering of rents on new houses? 

If there are former construction workers in your unit, what are their bright 
ideas for providing more shelter for less cost? With whom did they discuss 
suggestions of this kind in their former jobs? 

2. An Eye on Organization 

Large-scale units of operation are more and more common in business. Do 
you think that the predominance of small units in the Canadian building and 
builders' supply trades has anything to do with their technical backwardness? 
How many ways can you see of reducing the cost of the average house: 

(a) On the site? (b) Off the site? 

Aids in Studying this Booklet 

Building Trades. Canadian Legion's LETS CONSIDER JOBS Series, 

Number 4-(8). 
A Place to LIVE. Canadian Affairs, April 15, 1945. 
Where does Labour fit in? Canadian Affairs, Feb. 1, 1945. 
Look to the North. A National Film Board production showing many 

engineering operations. 

19 



Let's look at Textiles again 

If you intend (as we hope you do) to keep 
these Supplements as stand-by ammunition for 
future discussions of Canadian industry, you 
should make the following corrections in your 
copy of Reconstruction Supplement Number 1: 

(a) Page 5, line 11: $150,000,000 

(not #15,000,000). 

(b) Page 6, line 10: silk production figures 

are in pounds (not yards). 

(c) Page 6, lines 12, 13 and 14: the figures 

for 1935 are averages per establish- 
ment, not production and payroll of 
the whole silk industry. As there were 
then 31 natural silk yarn establish- 
ments and 2 artificial silk firms, the 
gross production values for 1935 were: 

Natural silk . . • • #14,448,000. 
Artificial silk • • . . 13,597,000. 



Total #28,045,000. 

The total employees in yarn making 
were: 

Natural silk 5770 
Artificial silk 4338 



"CANADIAN AFFAIRS Reconstruction Supplements are intended for those in 
the Services who want to discuss realistically the Canada in which they will 
work after the war. The Supplements are prepared by the Wartime Informa- 
tion Board and will appear fortnighdy, alternating with the regular Issue of 
CANADIAN AFFAIRS. 



DESIGNED BY THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD 



♦OTTAWA: EDM0ND CL0UTIER, PRINTER TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY 
PRINTED IN CANADA, 1945.